A group of people doing yoga
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How exercise and relaxation can help improve your mental health

If you’re feeling a little burned out or fatigued, you’re not alone. Everyone experiences low points in life, for a variety of different reasons. When this happens, it’s important to focus on caring for our mental health and looking after ourselves.

There are plenty of ways you can prioritise your mental well-being. Exercise, nutrition, relaxation and socialising are all linked to mental health and can have a really positive impact on your mood. We’re not talking about a total lifestyle overhaul – there are some easy tweaks to your daily routine that can really boost your well-being.

Manage your stress

Stress isn’t just an emotion, it’s actually a physical condition too.

When you’re stressed, your body triggers a fight-or-flight response and activates your immune system. Although that’s useful in dangerous situations, too much stress can leave you feeling mentally overwhelmed and physically exhausted.

The great news is that most forms of exercise  — from aqua aerobics to fast-paced HIIT classes — can act as a good stress reliever. Physical activity increases the production of feel-good endorphins, which reduce the negative effects of stress and anxiety and help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Particularly intense exercise can even imitate the effects of stress, teaching your body how to process those things more effectively. Why not try a session in the gym, where you have complete control over the pace and length of your workout? Or, if you’re looking for something more guided, give an exercise class a go.

But if you’re not up for working out, simply escaping to the spa can be the perfect way to break away from the pressures of the world. Your mind and body will benefit from the release of muscle tension, improved circulation and reduced blood pressure as you slip into a more relaxed state.

Think healthy body, healthy mind

The mental and emotional benefits of exercise and relaxation don’t stop with those stress-busting endorphins. Regular physical activity and taking the time to unwind offer a huge range of positive outcomes, such as:

1. Better sleep

Your body has to recover after exercise, which usually leads to a good night’s sleep — and being well rested opens up its own assortment of benefits. When you routinely get enough sleep, you’ll be more likely to:

  • Get ill less often
  • Find it easier to maintain the right weight for your unique body
  • Lower your risk of complex health concerns, including diabetes and heart issues.

2. A self-esteem boost

Exercise can help enhance your confidence, which can naturally carry over into other areas of your life. Increased confidence lets you put your worries into perspective and feel more at ease. You might also find that it helps improve your self-image and self-worth if that’s something you’re struggling with too.

3. Improved brain power

Cognitive functions can decline as we get older, but regular exercise at any age can benefit the hippocampus (the part of the brain that acts on memory) and improve its function. That means that people who exercise regularly are generally more likely to think more clearly and retain new information.

4. More energy

Physical activity increases blood flow, carrying more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to make you feel more energised and alert. That feeling of being awake, and full of energy is a great way to improve your mental health and combat the effects of stress. It may also lead to better nutritional choices as you seek to “fuel the fire”.

Strengthen your social bonds

Spending quality time exercising, talking, and relaxing in the company of others is a wonderful way to maintain a positive state of well-being.

Socialising is an important part of the David Lloyd Clubs experience, whether you form lasting friendships with familiar faces in your weekly cycling class, chat with old friends over a game of tennis, or regularly check in with a Personal Trainer to get more from your session. We encourage ‘Clubs within Clubs’ across our health clubs, supporting everything from regular coffee mornings and quiz nights, to book clubs and family pool parties.

Think of a David Lloyd Clubs membership as your year-round support for mental, emotional and social wellbeing.

Find a club
Skip to content